UK homeowners spent on average, £23,000 pounds per household renovating their homes last year. Australians spend an average of $150,000 Australian dollars every week (as a country) renovating, and Americans spend around $60,000 dollars per household renovating their homes.
The statistics underline the fact that we all love making our homes look beautiful. It is our little piece of privacy, of expression, it is the place that we make memories and spend quality time with the people we love the most, of course we want to make the best of it.
Unfortunately, accidents in the home account for 1000 visits to A&E every single week, and that is just in the UK. So although those home renovations are totally worth it in the end, there’s a lot of potential for accidents in the meantime. A plaster will sort out a minor cut or graze, but home renovations can be dangerous enough to cause life-changing injuries, and even death. Even if you have an accident like an arm break, or an ankle sprain, it has such far reaching effects. It could put you out of work for 6 weeks, it could mean you need an operation, it could stop you doing the sports you love, it could affect family life and the balance of child care and house work. At the very least it delays your house renovation if you were doing a lot of the work.
With that in mind, we think it is definitely worth focusing on the safety of your renovation so that it only serves to improve your life, and doesn’t cause anybody an injury in the meantime. Here are our top tips for ensuring your house renovation is as safe as possible:
From the very beginning you should be pursuing this project with safety at the forefront of your mind. You might be excited to get stuck in but, sometimes a little planning and foresight saves a lot of money, time and in some cases, pain, in the long run.
You will want to make sure you:
- Prepare the space properly
- Have any potentially unstable areas checked for stability and safety
- Have all the right equipment including safety clothing and equipment
- Have the right permits and clearance for any scaffolding or skips
Simply working with safety in mind will be a great start to ensuring you can navigate your renovation in a way that keeps you and everybody working on the house, safe and happy.
Protective clothing is a particularly important part of preparing for your home renovation. Dust masks, goggles and even just steel cap boots when working with heavy objects, will all help you stay safe. If you are unsure of the type of clothing you need for your renovation, do some research and find out which clothing is useful for different jobs. If you have any friends or family working on the home, remember you are responsible for providing them with the clothing they need.
When The Project Is Underway
When the project begins it will be a case of managing the safety as well as possible whilst the work is done. There are likely to be a few things you need to put a lot of focus on and that includes:
- Ventilation – When you paint, varnish or work on anything using chemicals indoors, gasses can occur which can be harmful to health. Even in the summer heat, a house with no ventilation is a really big potential trap for heatstroke. Get those doors and windows open!
- Work On Dust Control – Sanding things down, cutting wood and even just installing drywall can make a lot of dust. Dust can irritate your lungs and cause health issues so, always wear masks and protection.
- Work Outside When You Can – When a job is very messy or very dusty, work outside if possible to keep toxins outside.
- Stay Somewhere Else – It is possible your living situation will be compromised during renovation and it may be unsafe for you to try and live in the property when large amounts of work are being done on it.
- Don’t Work On Things You Can’t Do – Having a go at painting when you’re not a decorator is one thing, but doing the electrics when you’re not an electrician? That’s one for the Darwin awards. Any jobs like plumbing, electrics or joinery should be done by an expert to ensure you’re not only safe during renovation, but that the house is safe moving forward.
- Make Sure Anyone You Hire Is Working Safely – If they are qualified they will be working safely, but it helps to check they have all the right certification so you know they will be safe and they leave your house safe to use as well.
It is also really important to note that the security and safety doesn’t end when you stop working. Consider getting some shed locks or even external storage for tools (especially dangerous ones) to be stored overnight. If you are having garden renovations using diggers and work vehicles, ensure they are safely locked overnight. Take care to use a safe fuel storage device to store the fuel for them, something like a bunded fuel tank for example, to ensure the fuel cannot leak or be stolen as it is both expensive and dangerous.
Finishing Up With Safety In Mind
Once the renovations are done, you will still need to work on the house to make it safe and tidy. You’ll want to ensure the finishing touches leave your house a clean and safe place to live and even furnish or decorate properly now (the exciting bit!). When finishing your house you will want to:
Clean The Walls Down
If the walls are freshly painted you will want to dust them down without any fluid otherwise you may disturb the paint. If you have kept the old paint you can use a damp cloth to clean the walls.
There will be dust in so many areas in the home following renovation, so a good hoovering is an essential part of the cleanup process. With any tiles or wood flooring you will want to use a wet device like a mop to grab excess dust particles.
Before you live in the house properly, testing all the work done is key to ensure it is all safe. Are all the light switches installed properly? Is the plumbing installed properly? Are the tiles secure? Just checking everything works as it should will give you peace of mind that the property is safe and secure, and ready to work as a family home again.
Take Your Renovation Safety Into Your Hands
Safety is an investment into the future of your home, it deserves your time and attention.
Your house renovation should be a stepping stone to living the kind of home life you want to. However, it could mean a few steps back if you or anybody working on the property gets injured because of safety negligence. Take your time and think about the safety of the renovation. The result should hopefully be a beautifully restored home, and a happy and healthy family to live in it, and make memories in it, when it is all finished.